By Tim Saunders on
One of the most well-known names in show business is teaming up with one of the biggest names in fashion for a fund raising event expected to generate millions of dollars to revitalize the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in the African nation of Malawi.
Madonna has joined forces with Gucci to prove she is not just a material girl, and will headline a special gala and show on February 6, 2008. The event will benefit UNICEF and Raising Malawi, the charity the singer co-founded in 2006, and will focus on ending the poverty and hardship suffered by Malawi’s 1 million orphans, many of whom have had parents die from the AIDS pandemic.
To help with the event, which is expected to raise over $2 million for the cause, Madonna has enlisted the help of her many friends as co-chairs, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Lucy Liu, Salma Hayek, Tea Leoni, Adrien Brody, Arpad Busson, and Francois-Henri Pinault.
“I am grateful that Gucci is joining forces with me to bring attention to a country with millions of children in desperate need of our help,” said Madonna when the event was announced. “Raising Malawi has already done tremendous work in helping these children. But we have much more to do, and this event will surely bring us closer to our goal.”
Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie are currently embroiled in a bid to adopt a young child from Malawi, 13-month-old David Banda. However, the adoption attempt has been the centre of much controversy, especially from human rights groups who have accused the singer of trying to get around the country’s laws by using her fame and wealth. The 49-year-old denies the allegations, and a hearing at Malawi’s High Court will be held in 2008 to decide whether the couple are suitable parents and should be allowed to welcome the child into their family.
Raising Malawi was established to assist the African country with its poor public health record and high AIDS rate – it is estimated that 12% of the population between the age of 15-49 suffer from the disease.
“Every day, 6000 children lose a parent to AIDS,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF, who also thanked Madonna and Gucci for organizing the gala event. “Every day, 1400 children die from AIDS.”
Gucci has been a UNICEF corporate partner since 2004, and the event in February will also celebrate the opening of the biggest Gucci store on the planet, situated on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
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